3 Financial Benefits Of Seeing A Primary Care Physician

When it comes to medical care, seeing a primary care physician can have financial benefits as well as benefits for your health. While you don't want to make all of your medical decisions based on cost, there are some compelling financial reasons to see a primary care physician. Here are just some of those reasons to consider before you schedule your next doctor appointment.

1. Lower Co-Pays

If you have a health insurance plan, you may find that there are different co-pay amounts you are responsible when you visit a doctor. Specialists, such as cardiologists or neurologists, may cost more than a visit to a primary care physician. If your primary care doctor can treat your condition, you may find that it's more affordable to see him or her than a specialist. Co-pays for a primary care physician can range from $15 to $25, while a specialist co-pay might cost between $30 and $50. If your policy features co-insurance, you may find that the cost of co-insurance for a specialist can be more expensive as well.

2. Referral Costs

Your primary care physician can make referrals to specialists as it becomes necessary. If you have a managed healthcare plan, you may be required to get a referral before seeing a specialist. Scheduling an appointment without a referral can sometimes mean that you'll be responsible for the entire cost of the specialist's care. This is because some policies won't cover the visits unless they are deemed necessary by a primary care physician. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to specialists with lower rates than others if you are having difficulty with affording care. Don't be afraid to discuss this with your doctor, as he or she can make sure you get the care you need from a specialist operating within your budget.

3. Lower Office Costs

You may also find that primary care physicians are just plain cheaper than visiting a specialist. Whether you have insurance and want to pay a lower co-insurance and co-pay or you have no coverage and need to pay out of pocket, a primary care doctor may be more affordable for you. If you don't have health insurance, ask the billing department about any potential discounts or payment plans you may be able to take advantage of. Some doctors will provide discounts to patients, such as sliding-scale fees, to ensure people in the community get the care that they need.